Tech Tip: Hide the previous logon username

If you work in a security-minded environment, you may want to disable the default setting in NT 4.0 that displays the name of the last person who logged onto the system. It's often far too easy to guess a user's password from his or her username or from the logon environment.

Follow these steps:

  1. Open the Registry Editor (Regedt32).
  2. Select the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key.
  3. Navigate to the subkey \Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\ CurrentVersion\Winlogon.
  4. Go to Edit | New | String Value.
  5. Enter DontDisplayLastUserName for the string's name.
  6. Double-click the new string to edit the value.
  7. Change the value to 1, and click OK.
  8. Exit the Registry Editor.

Automatically log onto your workstation

You can automatically log onto your NT machine by applying the following registry patch to your system:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]

A word of caution: This leaves a big security hole, especially if your autologon ID has administrator privileges. In addition, your password is now saved in clear text in the registry. Use this only if you have a good reason (such as the need to autoinstall software).

Note: Remember that editing the registry can be risky, so be sure you have a verified backup before you begin.

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